While some breweries release the same, traditional holiday seasonal year after year, others keep consumers on their toes by always brewing something new. Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale is most well-known for surprising beer drinkers each year, but I always look forward to Schell’s Snowstorm. The 2010 weizenbock and 2012 biere de garde were superb, and Snowstorm 2013, a “Belgian Style Golden Ale” brewed with chamomile and coriander, is just as good in its own way.
Think snifters and tulips are too fancy for Schell’s beers? Think again! Serve Snowstorm 2013 in one of these bulbous glasses. The color is clear gold with a light haze. Two fingers of dense, fluffy white head will leave lacing along the glass as it settles slowly and evenly.
The smell is spicy with lots of clove, coriander and a good dash of pepper. Slowly, aromas of fruit begin to emerge: A hint of teasing apple makes way for banana. There is a little strawberry in the background and a scent of bubblegum becomes prominent. The chamomile offers a subtle, sweet grassy aroma.
The flavor of Snowstorm is very similar to the smell: There is clove, coriander and pepper upfront, and apple is followed by banana and bubblegum. Though far from overpowering, the spice lingers and remains prominent throughout each sip. The fruits really shine in the aftertaste. Much as it did for the smell, the chamomile offers a grassiness, but it is mostly overshadowed by the spice. The alcohol is completely masked and overall the beer is a smooth and soothing drink.
- Serving temperature: 45-50ºF.
- Alcohol content: 7 percent ABV.
- Food pairings: Salmon, chicken, tangy cheeses and spicy Thai cuisine.
- Where to buy: Schell’s beers are widely available—Snowstorm 2013 is available at most area beer retailers. Get it while supplies last.
- Price: $8 per six-pack.
Casey Wagner lives in Iowa City.